Wednesday, May 10, 2017

An Open Letter To Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State

Dear Secretary Tillerson:
Congratulations!  On your job? No, not that - I'm congratulating you on the fact that you're getting this open letter I'm writing to you, as open letters are a distinction I bestow onto very few people (although I wish I hadn't wasted it on Anthony Weiner).  And I've written this open letter because I actually like you.
I know a lot of people don't like you, Mr. Secretary, but I do, although I can't explain why.  So here's why I feel compelled to write you an open letter today.  You know that Paris thing?  Not the French election, the agreement to do something about climate change, which President Obama helped negotiate and signed back in 2015 and which your boss, Donald J. Trump, wants to pull out of. I hear that you support keeping the United States in the agreement and that you believe that climate change is real.  Yes! Thank you!  You show great genius, Mr. Secretary, because, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, genius is being able to hold two contradictory ideas in one's mind simultaneously.  Or, in your case, you, as Exxon's former CEO, think oil is an essential fuel for the future . . . and you want to do something about climate change!       
So here's the deal, Mr. Secretary.  Your boss, Donald J. Trump, is going to the Group of Seven summit later this month, and I assume you're tagging along. He says we won't decide on an American withdrawal - an "Amexit" - from the Paris Agreement until after he's conferred with the leaders of the other six nations in the group.  You think the agreement is important, you think we should stay in it so we don't become a total pariah on this planet, and you're the Secretary of State.  Here's my simple request:  Make sure you get your boss on board with this deal! 
I know your boss, Donald J. Trump, thinks global warming is a hoax, although he believed it before he didn't, and that he canceled federal programs Barack Obama had started to make us compliant with the agreement, but several states, including California, and many cities and towns are already pursuing climate-change-fighting programs, and so state and local action may compensate for federal action and allow us to remain on the right side of history.  In other words, we can stay in the agreement without your boss, Donald J. Trump, having to do a thing to implement it.  Your boss keeps his promises with his base, we stay in the deal and let folks like Jerry Brown take the lead, and you get to save face with the rest of the world for the sake of international diplomacy.  Everyone's a winner!
Yes, Mr. Secretary, I know my idea is a crazy one, but it just might be crazy enough to work.  So please, whatever you do, keep telling your boss to keep this country in the Paris Agreement, and those of us who believe in climate change, as you do, will take it from there at the state and local level, at least until we get a new President.  Of course, when your boss leaves office, he'll be out of work, and so will you.  But here's the best part - you'll get to spend more time with your grandchildren.  And if you help save the Paris Agreement, you'll know that they will benefit from it the most.
Steven Maginnis
P.S.  I'm not kidding when I say this Paris Agreement is important for the planet's future.  Don't do what this country did a hundred years ago; it wouldn't participate in another international agreement hammered out in France, the Treaty of Versailles, and so we didn't join the League of Nations, and we all know how that turned out.  Ask anyone in Poland.

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